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Dspdrew's Myrmecocystus testaceus Journal [149] (Updated 12-5-2018)

dspdrew journal myrmecocystus

51 replies to this topic

#1 Offline dspdrew - Posted April 21 2014 - 10:08 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

4-21-2014
 
On April 12th 2014, I dug up 11 Myrmecocystus testaceus dealates near Lake of the Woods, California. PogoQueen found these out there and told me about the spot, so I decided to drive up and get a few myself. There were hundreds of founding chambers, and I probably had a 30 percent success rate digging them up. I noticed the ones that were in the very hard dirt were only down a couple inches, while the ones in the soft dirt were down much further.
 
gallery_2_172_37349.jpg
 

 

This is one of their founding chambers.
 
gallery_2_172_33215.jpg
 

 

Right away I noticed most of them were covered in little red mites. They seemed to attach themselves to the area where the wings were torn off, and on the underside of their neck. I was able to remove all the mites using a microscope and a fine-tip tweezers.
 
gallery_2_137_12610.jpg
 
Four have died since I first collected them, two of them shortly after removing the mites.
 
On April 19th I dug up two more of these same queens in Idyllwild, California. Thankfully these new ones didn't have any mites on them. I also noticed that these queens are a bit lighter brown than the first bunch. This leaves me at a total of nine queens now.
 
A few days after collecting them, one of them laid a few eggs. Now, a little over a week later I have three of them with eggs.



#2 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 1 2014 - 4:18 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 5-1-2014
 
Two more queens died, leaving me with seven of them. All seven now have eggs.



#3 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 10 2014 - 9:01 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 5-10-2014
 
It seems the deaths have stopped now, leaving me with six queens. Most of them now have larvae.

 

gallery_2_172_40842.jpg



#4 Offline dspdrew - Posted June 1 2014 - 9:19 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 6-1-2014
 
Today one of the queens got her first worker. The rest are close behind, except for one who doesn't seem to be producing a whole lot, or possibly eating some of her brood.

 

gallery_2_172_52854.jpg

 

gallery_2_172_39223.jpg



#5 Offline dspdrew - Posted June 19 2014 - 9:27 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 6-19-2014
 
Most all of these have nanitic workers now, but for some reason quite a few of them keep losing workers as fast as they're gaining them. :(



#6 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted July 11 2014 - 4:14 PM

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Update?

Does this species have repletes?



#7 Offline dspdrew - Posted September 16 2014 - 12:58 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 9-16-2014
 
Unfortunately most of these have died, leaving me with just one queen with no workers or brood.



#8 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted September 16 2014 - 2:15 PM

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This seems like a very needy species. Definitely more of a challenge than Myrmecocystus navajo or mexicanus.



#9 Offline dspdrew - Posted October 23 2014 - 5:43 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 10-23-2014
 
The last queen died yesterday.



#10 Offline dspdrew - Posted March 21 2015 - 12:40 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 3-21-2015
 
Well, I found two more of these queens last night in Phelan, CA, so I guess I can recontinue this journal again for now. I dug them up from their founding chambers. I can tell they probably flew well over a week ago based on their founding chambers and the others around them. It hasn't rained in over a month there so I have no idea when they flew.



#11 Offline dspdrew - Posted March 29 2015 - 11:38 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 3-30-2015
 
At first one of these new queens laid eggs, but the other wasn't doing anything, so I decided to put the one without eggs into one of these small ant farm boxes I made the other day. It started digging a founding chamber immediately. After only about a day or two, it already laid a pile of eggs. So far this seems to be working better for it. I guess we'll see how it goes.

 

med_gallery_2_198_545427.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_198_1164023.jpg


  • Bardusquus likes this

#12 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted March 30 2015 - 8:45 PM

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Looking a lot like mine.



#13 Offline Foogoo - Posted April 13 2015 - 8:48 PM

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Update 3-21-2015
 
Well, I found two more of these queens last night in Phelan, CA, so I guess I can recontinue this journal again for now. I dug them up from their founding chambers. I can tell they probably flew well over a week ago based on their founding chambers and the others around them. It hasn't rained in over a month there so I have no idea when they flew.

But they still resembled founding chambers? I would've imagined they be obscured within days. Do you feed your queens? Seems like a lot of energy would be expended with all the digging.


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Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta


#14 Offline dspdrew - Posted April 14 2015 - 4:00 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

I don't feed any that are being kept like this because I can't. They will just have to wait for their workers to get food for them once they eclose.



#15 Offline dspdrew - Posted April 30 2015 - 12:41 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 4-30-2015
 
Two weeks ago I put the other queen in an ant farm box as well. This queen dug a really shallow founding chamber and closed it off. It must be only about an inch deep. I managed to open it up and drop her eggs in there. She finally moved them into a pile at the end of her little chamber and closed it off again.

 

The first queen I put in the box has some pretty big larvae, and I think one cocoon now.



#16 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 19 2015 - 9:23 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 5-15-2015
 
The queen that had the large brood, now has two little workers, and quite a few more cocoons. I'll try to get pictures or video of them down in their little chambers if it's possible.

 

The other queen still just has some eggs or small larvae I think.



#17 Offline dspdrew - Posted June 1 2015 - 12:14 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 6-1-2015
 
I just collected 30 of these queens in Angelus Oaks near Big Bear, California 5-30-2015. It was around 9:00 PM, and they were all in the process of digging founding chambers. A few of them were just standing around or wandering slowly.

 

One of the other colonies has two workers now, and they dug a really small tunnel up to the surface so they could forage.The other colony doesn't look like it has changed much; it's very hard to see it.



#18 Offline Alza - Posted June 11 2015 - 1:03 PM

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How are the new queens ?



#19 Offline dspdrew - Posted June 14 2015 - 12:46 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 6-14-2015
 
It turns out the colony with the workers actually has three. They also have a really big pile of new eggs. The other queen I found the same night that one was found, died.

 

Most of the new queens have laid eggs now. I have three of them in the ant farm boxes.



#20 Offline dspdrew - Posted June 16 2015 - 7:29 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 6-16-2015
 
Every queen has laid eggs now. Two days ago I moved six more of these into small ant farm boxes. All but one have dug nests. I wasn't sure how to give them their eggs, out of fear that they might bury them or step on them while digging their nests. Last time I waited until the queen was finished, and then poked a barbeque skewer down into the nest, opening it up so I could drop her eggs in. This time I just gave them their eggs when I put them in, and most of them piled them in a corner, and once finished digging, moved them down into their nests. I guess they're smarter than I thought.







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